So, the GVTV gang was lucky enough to attend the inaugural PAX South in San Antonio, TX and let me tell you, we were all insanely impressed and quite a bit manic. Sensory overload was the catchword of the day during our time there. I’ll get more into that on another blog at a later time, Geekvengers. What I want to tell you about right now is what I think was the game of the show.
Yes, it is a zombie game, but it also is much more than that. The game was originally available as an Xbox Live download. That’s when I first became aware of it and the word of mouth buzz surrounding it was quite strong. It has since had DLC content; Breakdown, released in 2013 to very solid success and that was followed up by Lifeline, a much different style of play that let’s you “Go loud!” as a military squad, as Brant Fitzgerald, head of art and design says. I enjoyed the game thoroughly and got uber excited to hear that Undead Labs was asked to remaster it. What about this new version is different? Why should we care?
Well, I had an opportunity to sit down with Brant Fitzgerald and Jeff from Undead Labs and they told me exactly why I should care! First off, the game did so well on Xbox Live that Microsoft asked them to do a remastered version for their new console, the Xbox One. They were obviously pumped and jumped at the chance. The graphics have been heavily beefed up, featuring 1080p HD, improved shading, animations, draw distance, and improved gameplay. All current DLC is included within the game and there are over 280 weapons in the game so you can get your zombie beat-down on! I’m not a tech jargon expert, but it looked fantastic and plays beautifully. Zombie heads pop like melons in beautifully rendered HD. Running over the undead is just as satisfying as ever.
While talking to Brant and Jeff, I could feel the energy and love they put into this game. Brant said, “We got a phone call from my former boss and he said, ZOMBIES, and hung up the phone.” Also, “We’d sit around and watch zombie movies and we’d complain about how dumb the people were. We always sat around for an hour after the movie and we talked about what we’d do differently….We wanted to double down on the survival aspect of the zombie apocalypse” We all know zombie games do death extremely well, but what’s been missing in many is the RPG survival aspects of the game. Gathering survivors, tracking their health and morale, and managing your entire group and resources are front and center here. You could go in guns blazing and hack and slash, but then you get tired, or over encumbered, or get hurt, sick and die. Difference here is, the game continues without you. That’s right, people…PERMADEEEEEEEEAAAATH!!!!!! You make the mistake, you pay the consequences.
While talking to Jeff as my compatriot Adam Garcia got some hands on time with the game, I asked him about things that he wanted to add. Okay, I gave him some ideas, to be honest. I said, “How about you add customizable cars into the game? Like spikes and grill guards and other crazy zombie smashing shit?!” Jeff was visibly excited by the idea. I could so tell. I fully expect in future game installments for there to be a crazy Chocolate Machismo mechanic named Marselles who can build you a sweet zombie flattening ride, baby! Also, I mentioned something about adding ambient music. Not like a soundtrack, but more like you could find CDs or iPods in abandoned cars that you could play. It could expand the scavenging mechanic as well as increase the danger. You could play music and jam out, but of course the noise would draw in zombies. Perhaps you could use it as a zombie trap? We were brainstorming at this point and I doubt any of that will be done, but I love that I was able to sit down and toss ideas at the actual game designers.That was a blast!
The guys and girls at Undead Labs get it. They’re gamers and they love what they do. State of Decay: Year One Survival Edition will be available April 28th on Xbox One and Steam. If you have downloaded the previous versions, you can grab the new version for up to 33% off. If not, you can still snag it for $29.99. Bonus content also includes a new exclusive playable character.